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Turkey's first lady makes her official headscarf debut

20 October 2010 [11:36] - TODAY.AZ
Turkey’s first lady has taken the lead role in introducing the headscarf in public spaces, as she accompanied her husband in an official welcome of Germany’s president on Tuesday while wearing a headscarf.

President Abdullah Gül and First Lady Hayrünnisa Gül welcomed Germany’s Christian Wulff and Bettina Wulff during Tuesday’s welcoming ceremony. It marked a first for the Turkish first lady, who walked down the red carpet and greeted the Turkish soldiers. In the past, Hayrünnisa Gül had not participated in the official parts of such meetings.

The headscarf issue has been heating up recently, as President Gül earlier decided to merge the separate receptions to commemorate the establishment of the Republic of Turkey into one reception open to those wearing headscarves, eliminating the second reception for secular guests. In previous years, Gül held two separate receptions, one at noon for the military and senior government officials and another in the evening for the media, NGOs, artists and others. The latter hosted the spouses of the invitees, whether covered or not.

Gül’s two consecutive actions came at a moment when politicians have been busily engaged in a debate on how to liberate the wearing of headscarf at the universities.

Dialogue for a solution to the headscarf issue has been initiated, with the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, making the rounds Wednesday to meet with the main opposition parties.

The AKP representatives were set to meet with the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, at 11 a.m. Wednesday, the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, at 11:45 a.m. and the Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, at 12:30 p.m.

Burhan Kuzu, a legal expert and head of the Constitution commission at Parliament, said the purpose of the meetings was to get the opinions of each party to design a joint road map for the resolution of the issue, in remarks to reporters Tuesday before the AKP’s group meeting held at the party’s headquarters. The group meeting was held in a closed session as it came before today’s crucial appointments.

When asked about the AKP’s formula for the solution of the issue, Kuzu replied: “There are already some verdicts and laws. In fact, there is no specific law banning it [the wearing of the headscarf at universities].”

Kuzu said the best and shortest way to un-restrict the headscarf was to annul Article 17 of the Law on Higher Education, which is interpreted as the obstacle to wearing headscarves at universities.

“However, we will discuss the issue with other parties. We have to come to an understanding for a mutual formula,” he said.

Meanwhile, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli said Tuesday that the party is curious to see what common ground the AKP and CHP will find regarding the headscarf issue, thus making the solution process in Parliament much easier.

“If the document presented to us is a document agreed on by the AKP and CHP, we will state our opinions on the matter,” Bahçeli said.

BDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş said Tuesday, “We agree on handling it as a case of religious freedom, but we want to see the AKP’s suggestions first.”


/Hurriyet Daily News/
URL: http://www.today.az/news/regions/75292.html

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